Organizers with some of the youth basketball teams in Kitimat’s Junior All-Native tournament last week say raised Terrace hotel prices are unfair to travelling players.
Hosting 84 teams from across B.C., players, coaches and their families sometimes look to Terrace for places to stay because of high rates or low vacancies left in Kitimat hotels.
However, parent and organizer Rod Davis from Greenville says room prices from the Sandman Inn and the Holiday Inn Express in Thornhill were higher than what was quoted last fall. Now instead of spending an expected $9,000, the four teams now have to pay around $12,000 for the week, he says.
“[Hotels] just said that’s how it is in Terrace. All of our teams are closely knit and they’re saying their room prices went way up. They had their papers saying how much it was going to be when they come and check in, and then they got there, the price had gone right up,” Davis says.
At first, he was told one room would cost around $110. But when he got there, the prices rose to between $160 to over $200.
On March 18 Terrace Standard reporters called four local hotels anonymously to compare quotes with the basketball teams. Prices during the week for a two-bedroom matched the higher prices reported.
Davis says the four teams fundraised all year to be able to afford the trip to Kitimat, with help from provincial grants.
“These kids struggle to make their money to go to these tournaments, and these hotels don’t realize that.”
The interim manager at the Sandman Inn says the price increase was a result of supply and demand, and set based on rates from Kitimat hotels, which were upwards of $380 for the week, but declined to comment on the issue further.
Another parent from the Lax Kw’alaams team also voiced her concerns with the Holiday Inn in a Facebook post, saying after the team changed their check-in date for a day later, the rates for their 18 rooms rose from $119 to $219.
Sam Kim, general manager at the Holiday Inn, says the team had cancelled their reservation after not responding to any of the hotel’s follow up emails or messages to confirm the booking. He says the team was then offered $149 per room instead of $219, but they decided to go with another hotel.
“We sent more than five emails, left them messages, but we never got any answer,” Kim says. The hotel also cited supply and demand as the reason for the increased rates.
Attempts to reach JANT organizers about other teams voicing similar concerns were unsuccessful.
Michelle Taylor, executive director for Terrace & District Chamber of Commerce, says she hasn’t heard of any concerns regarding unfair hotel prices in Terrace.
Though as the area gets busier with industrial development in the region, she says it’s important for sports teams staying in Terrace to work with local hotels to make sure they get the best rates.
“Like any business its supply and demand,” she says. “Sports groups that are planning on hosting events and other organizations should look at working with other hotel partners in the community, because it’s going to get busy.”